La Poste purchaser sets up transformation project

17 January 2012

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17 January 2012 | Adam Leach

A three-year transformation to raise procurement's profile and extend its influence is underway at La Poste after senior buyer Fabien Krawczyk was inspired by a speech given by ABSA CPO Karen Van Vuuren.

Krawczyk, procurement director for professional services at France’s postal service, was so enthused that he proposed a programme to his CPO, which has since been signed off and sponsored by the company’s CEO.

Krawczyk had been working on making purchasing more services-orientated since 2008. He knew more needed to be done to give the function greater influence, but it was only after seeing the South African bank’s CPO and CIPS chairwoman speak at the European Procurement Directors’ Forum in Basel that things started to click into place.

“Karen was so eloquent in her speech that she inspired me,” he told SM.

He explained that her demonstration of a maturity matrix – which enables the issues around a transformation programme to be logically and manageably framed – was the first aspect that encouraged him. The way she championed assertiveness – going to the top of the company for sponsorship - and the importance of engaging stakeholders, along with her overall passion, also got him fired up.

Soon after the conference, Krawczyk scheduled a meeting with his CPO, after which they took the idea to the CEO. He was then given responsibility to transform procurement into an influential department that is recognised as adding value, through the group-wide ‘Programme Ambition 2015’. Krawczyk updates the CEO each week on progress and actions.

While the project is still in its early days, it is already getting noticed. “Everybody in the organisation is interested, although, as you might imagine, there are different paces for change and some people are more reluctant, but we have the interest from the top with the CEO and the CPO.”

Asked where difficulties might lie, he said: “The biggest challenge will be – and it's one we're experiencing right now – in alleviating people’s concerns.” Effective communication is key to overcoming this, he said. “We need to be very pragmatic – we shouldn't use consultant slang, this isn't a consultant’s programme, this is our programme. We need to find new ways to demonstrate how we add value.”


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